strawberries, starts and a slideshow

Our strawberry harvest from last year - into the freezer!

Hi everyone! It’s been crunch-time with lots of planting outside ~ We got in most of our 2,000 strawberries for next year’s crop (pick-your-own hopefully), all of our red and yellow storage onions (thousands), weeded the peas and seeded in lots more lettuce, kale, broccoli, collards, dill… and many more in 6-packs for selling at the Shutesbury Farmers Market starting May 22nd (and here too as they are ready!)

Now we have beautiful Red Sails and Mixed Lettuce 6-packs (starts), ready almost to eat, but certainly to be planted right away… they don’t mind these chilly nights! Also our Broccoli (Arcadia, Tendergreen and Fiesta) plants are getting huge and are really ready, same with the Tuscan Lacinato (Dino) Kale. The other brassicas (cabbage, collards, brussel sprouts…), basil and other herbs, flowers and tomatoes will be ready in a couple more weeks.

Wednesdays (12-6) have been picking up and Saturdays (9-3) have been great fun! We’ll add more days as more produce comes available. Thanks to everyone who is making our farmstand part of your regular routine ~ and to everyone spreading the word! Many of you are bringing your own bags or reusing your bags from the week before – thanks, that’s great for us and of course much better for the Earth (even though ours are compostable)!

Have a great week! Oh yeah, and we added a new “PHOTOS” tab on the site (click here) that is a slideshow of some of our favorite farm photos. It has a few from last year and a few from this year (so far). Hope you enjoy it!

Have a great week and remember to breathe…

Open today! 12-6

We’ll be open 12-6 today (Wed) and 9-3 on Sat. with lettuce, spinach, green onions, some leeks, onions, (mesclun, kale and arugula ready on Sat), oregano, seedlings (lettuce , broccoli plants, ready to set out now)


Veggies Wed 10-6 and Sat 9-3

Come by Wednesday 10-6 or Saturday 9-3
(note the extended Sat hours…)

Click on the “Current Available Produce” tab at the top for pricing.
We have lettuce, mesclun mix, arugula, spinach, Perpetual spinach (kind of a cross between spinach and swiss chard, but not as stemmy as chard), oregano, green onions, red & yellow onions, eggs.

Plants (6-packs): lettuce (many varieties) and maybe some broccoli.

Also, Hillside Organic Pizza will be serving our lettuce and spinach this week and hopefully future weeks! (They are in Hadley on Rt 9 and in Deerfield on 5&10 (near the Magic Wings Butterfly place) and open Thursday thru Sunday!

Red Sails Lettuce

Thanks, Sarah & Keith

Transition Town movie

This very important film will be playing at the Shutesbury Town Hall:

“In Transition” A short film showing how citizens can organize
themselves and cooperatively begin the transition from fossil-fuel dependence, climate change
and economic instability to community resilience. April 19, Monday – Shutesbury Town Hall
Downstairs – 7-9 pm. Group discussion following the movie.

You can also view it online at

This is the PDF flyer the town sent (in case you are not on the town email or live out of town!)


There are a number of towns coming together to talk about this – it’s pretty amazing! Conway and Shelburn I think are working on it. Hope you can make it!  The discussion should be pretty good…

And I want to thank everyone that came to our farmstand “event” (as one child called it). It was so fun – so many people knew each other and the kids ran around and played like they had known each other forever!  We’re going to stick with Wednesdays 10-6 and Saturdays 9-3… sounds like those days work for people. (Let us know if they don’t work for you and you need veggies and we’ll work out another time).

A (busy) week of photos

View of the Quabbin Valley from my treetop

Since I knew we had a busy week with such warm weather, I started by waking up REALLY early, climbing to the top of a big hemlock, and watching the sunrise before the morning breakfast-school-rush. This morning ritual stretches out my body, quiets my brain and fills me up for the day. I highly recommend tree climbing for adults (kids just know it’s good for them)…it’s actually my most productive back therapy. Even my chiropractor (who I rarely need to see anymore) has taken up his favorite childhood activity of tree-climbing again! Find a favorite tree and get to know it, start slowly if your afraid of heights (like me)! Just hold on tight and trust yourself.

I just had to show you the close-up of the hills and valleys…

red maple buds about to burst

I got to see the Red Maple buds just before they BURST open, causing chaos in my sinuses (one of my few allergens).

After 3 days of sneezing and dripping, a session of acupuncture set me straight…

peas and favas sprouting in the sink

So back to work… we pre-sprouted AND planted all our peas and fava beans (outside in beds). They needed lots of watering in the hot weather, but are officially “up” and on their way!

salamanders under water

After all that work planting peas (and lettuce, spinach, arugula, kale….) we went to relax at the pond, take a cold dip, float on the raft, and check on our goldfish and salamander friends. I had been watching one salamander with my camera when this other one snuck up to check him out!  I’ve never seen salamanders mate before but I think that’s the best way to describe what happened next…

heat tubing around the tomatoes

Back to work! We installed pex-tubing on either side of the tomatoes for some radiant heat… since it’s going down to 32 degrees F tonight! The soil temp at 7 pm was 65 degrees! These tubes hook up to a main tube at the end of the row, which is connected to our outdoor wood boiler. Hot water gets circulated through the tubes and keeps everyone toasty and alive! We put flats of tomatoes and peppers (for sale in May/ June!) on top to hold it down and in place, and give them some extra heat.

Notice the hanging racks for extra space…

getting crowded...

As you can see space is filling up! Those are supposed to be walking paths~ where you may have walked with me when we went in the greenhouse to pick your spinach or lettuce~ now they are (almost) covered with flats of baby herbs, flowers and veggies. And those ARE tomatoes planted in between the huge lettuces…

Keith calls this “Intensive Planting”. Lettuce doesn’t mind a little shade… so we have 3-inch pots of broccoli plants in between the young lettuces. If that wasn’t enough, this warm week allowed us to get most of our greenhouse tomatoes in early, so we are interplanting them down the middle of each bed! See those two up there?Our last exciting news is that the aphids we just realized we recently “acquired” are under control now because of the 1,500 ladybugs we purchased and set free in the greenhouse! Wow, do they eat… and the larvae supposedly will eat even more…

I like the hairs on the tomato plant above. Each tiny hair looks white from the dew.

These are your future onions, each covered in silver beads of dew! What a way to reflect more light onto yourself when it’s cloudy out. These will be planted out this coming week… And imagine, all that beauty, every day, and every bit, of beauty all these plants have, will be going in to our bodies to nourish every bit of us! Have you heard of Mr. Emoto and his water crystal studies? Pretty amazing…

Sparrow resting

So that’s about all for the week. Today we rested (after we put in a couple more beds of radiant heat tubes) and watched the sparrows and other birds at the feeder. This one is resting on one of the peach trees, which are budding out and will hopefully give us a nice crop of delicious fruit this year…

Thanks for reading! Hope to see you Saturday 9-2 for veggies.

See available produce list below on the post before this. Happy Spring!

Farmstand open this Wed 10-6 and Sat 9-2

Birch Moon Farm and Herbals
Open this Wednesday 10-6 and Saturday 9-2 with:

lettuce ($10/ lb)
($8/ lb)
mesclun mix
($16/ lb)
($16/ lb)
green onion tops
($2/ bunch)
($2/ lb)
($4/ dozen) 
potting soil
($11/ bag) for seedling starts
mixed-lettuce seedlings ($2.50/ 6-pack) ready to plant out now!

42 Cooleyville Rd, 2 houses east (the 202-side) of the Shutesbury Library.

Cash only please. We would love your clean egg cartons! Thanks!

Greenhouse as of April 2nd...

Homemade Shampoo

Calendula flowers in Summer

Okay, the following recipe was on the regular morning news of AOL (amazing) but a few years ago I stopped using shampoo because even the “organic” ones with organic herbs still have Sodium Laurel Sulfate and other very toxic and dangerous chemicals…some on the “top 10” list, which I will try to get and post later…  So our family uses Castile Soap (which leaves a lot of residues) followed by a vinegar hair rinse. There is a very simple and fun recipe below.

I actually make a big jar in the summer of herbal apple cider vinegar to bring out highlights and remove residues. I infuse rosemary, nettles, calendula, sage and comfrey for dark hair (or chamomile, calendula, comfrey & marshmallow for light hair). Just put the herbs in the vinegar and let it sit in a dark place for 6 weeks. When you are ready to use it strain some out, and mix 1 part vinegar to 5 parts water (6 parts if you have dry hair). Or like they say below, use a mint tea, what a great idea!

Blue Comfrey flowers

Come by this summer if you need any of the herbs, and I’ll show you how to make it – or just try it, you can’t really do anything “wrong”! Maybe I’ll do a demo at the Shutesbury farmer’s market (Starts May 22). Read on, and enjoy.

Save Money (and the Environment) With Homemade Hair Treatments

by Deborah Dunham

Homemade hair treatments does your ‘do — and the planet — good.

With Earth Day right around the corner, what better tribute to Mother Nature — and your wallet — than some DIY, eco-friendly hair treatments?

“Making your own products are super simple — it is a lot like cooking,” Lauren and Janice Cox, authors of “EcoBeauty — Scrubs, Rubs, Masks, and Bath Bombs for You and Your Friends,” told StyleList.

“If you have extremely dry hair you can whip up an all natural hair conditioning pack when you need it,” adds Lauren.

“You can also customize your hair care products to what you need — if your haır is dry add a bit more oil, oily add some lemon juice, damaged try honey. Many of the treatments and recipes have been used for years such as olive oil as a hair conditioner or lemon juice as a rinse to cleanse and refresh.”

Not only do homemade, eco-friendly beauty products use all natural ingredients with no animal testing, it’s a great way to reuse ingredients from the kitchen and recycle packaging. You can also save a boatload of cash. “You can make for pennies what you spend dollars on in the store,” she says.

The most important thing to keep in mind when masterminding your own products? “Keep it simple,” says Lauren. “When it comes to hair care and natural beauty, less really is more.”

Here are a few of their favorite homemade recipes to soothe your tattered tresses:

Basic Shampoo
This is a great basic shampoo for all hair types. If you hair is oily, omit the optional vegetable oil, but if your hair is dry or damaged, you should definitely include it. This shampoo is gentle on hair and won’t strip away its natural oils, so it will help keep it healthy and shiny.

1 /2 cup water
1 /2 cup mild liquid soap (try castile made from olive oil)
1 /2 teaspoon light vegetable oil

Gently stir all of the ingredients together, being careful not to beat the mixture, as this will cause it to foam up. Pour the shampoo into a clean squeeze bottle or plastic container. To use, shampoo as you normally would, then rinse well with cool water.

Refreshing Mint Hair Rinse
If you’re in need of a refreshing pick-me-up for dull, limp locks, this rinse will do the trick. Together, the mint tea and vinegar will get your scalp really clean and leave your hair fresh and shiny. Mint is naturally energizing and will give your scalp a tingly, fresh feeling, and the vinegar will rid your hair of any residue from styling gels or soap based shampoos.

1 /2 cup boiling water
1 to 2 mint tea bags
2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar

Pour the boiling water over the tea bag and let it steep until cool. Remove the tea bag, pressing it to extract as much tea as possible, then stir in the vinegar. To use, shampoo and condition your hair as usual then apply the entire mixture to your hair. Massage it into your scalp and work it through your hair, then dry your hair as you normally would, without rinsing it out.

911 Hair Rescue Mask
This great hair conditioning mask for repairing dry, damaged hair is especially good if you use a lot high-heat styling tools, such as a blow dryer or straightening iron. It will help revive lackluster hair, from your scalp to the ends of your hair.

1 /2 cup plain yogurt
2 tablespoons light olive oil
3 to 4 drops essential oil of peppermint or 1 sprig of fresh mint
1 to 2 drops essential oil of rosemary or 1 sprig fresh rosemary

Put all of the ingredients in a blender or food processor and blend until you have a smooth mixture. To use, first shampoo your hair, then apply the entire mixture and massage it into your hair and scalp. Put on a shower cap or wrap your hair in an old towel and leave the mixture on for 15 to 20 minutes, then rinse well with warm water and style as usual.

While the results of these hair treatments will be “amazing”, says Cox, “they may feel a bit different from the commercial products you are used to using. In other words, your homemade shampoo may not be as foamy or your conditioner may feel a bit thicker.”